My grandmother Kaia has a green thumb. Every Spring, well into her 80's, she would spend May down on her hands and knees in the Carolina dirt planting and tending her gardens, which she would keep thriving all summer long, along with the red wooden window boxes, clipping begonias, lilies and daisies for bud vases all over the house. Often she would gesture to some thick bush or blooming plant in the yard and mention how she'd snapped a sprig off of so-and-so's such-and-such and stuck it in the dirt and Voila!
Naturally, I've grown up believing that I too have a green thumb, or would have a green thumb if I tried my hand at it. Just like Nan's, my soul and the earth are intricately attuned, and fresh sprouting leaves and buds are bound to nose up toward my fingertips from pots or plots or patches of garden.
At least this is what I thought until I started growing plants of my own. The first few died, but to be fair, they were potted, or indoors, or we were traveling -- there were reasons.
Then a few more died.
And a few more.
Until ALL the plants I'd ever had were gone, including the ones "easy enough to grow in the palm of your hand." Basil -- forget it, leaves full of holes. Rosemary? No, the stalks turned black. The rose, tiny invisible bugs. Rananculous, juicy bulbous caterpillars. So it seems that I have no green thumb, or at least that despite repeated resolutions, I forget to water the plants...
During the past year, I thought my friend Amy was going to restore and mentor my buried plant-nurturing skills (plants quietly flourish on her patio, even now in the wake of an 8-week -old). But alas, even this week, an orchid that supposedly only needs water once every few weeks, is wilting and dropping blooms inexplicably in my dining room.
But this week, I found hope. Sitting on the warm wood of the back deck facing a stack of forsaken pots of dirt (I threw the plants out months ago), I noticed that from the largest pot -- the one on the bottom nearly completely covered by the others -- a green, healthy tuft of chives was growing its head off, secretly flourishing in the privacy of its own existence and found sun...